Research Summary

Colorado Springs, Colorado , USA

The urban forest for many cities across the nation includes remnants from naturally forested areas, but Colorado Springs’ urban forest was, with a few exceptions, planted as the City developed and expanded. The City’s urban forest continues to be created, modified, and removed primarily by people, and sustaining it will require ongoing human intervention. The goal of this intervention is a sustainable urban forest— an urban forest that optimizes the benefits of trees while meeting established safety and economic goals. Achieving this requires robust and diverse funding, adequate staffing and levels of service, appropriate and effective policies, and management actions consistent with best practices.

Colorado Springs research summary for the 2020 Urban Forest Management Plan

A sustainable urban forest can be defined as “the naturally occurring and planted trees in cities which are managed to provide the inhabitants with a
continuing level of economic, social, environmental and ecological benefits today and into the future” (Clark and Matheny et al. 1997).

Urban forests are increasingly important to urbanized areas and the people who live and work in these built landscapes. Trees offer many benefits, some of which are directly identifiable and quantifiable, and others that are experienced. Caring for Colorado Springs’ urban forest is an important part of growing a sustainable, healthy, and vibrant city and can only be achieved with the input of its residents

Urban forests and community health are inextricably linked; the better an urban forest, the greater a community’s health. A community that is engaged with its urban forest will responsibly plant, care for, and nurture its trees, while inspiring others to do the same and supporting the City’s urban forest management program. A thriving urban forest is only possible through a civic commitment and partnerships shared by all.

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Research Summary

Colorado Springs, Colorado


Colorado Springs Urban Forest Sustainability


Number of public trees in Colorado Springs


Acres of city-managed parks and open space